Prior to the amendments contained in Bill C-208, if a child wished to utilize a corporation to acquire shares from their parents, doing so essentially prevented the parent from utilizing their LCGE. This was viewed as an unfair restriction, as almost all business sales between unrelated parties are made through a purchaser corporation. Using a corporation to facilitate the purchase of a business significantly reduces the financing costs of the purchaser, as payments are made with after-tax corporate dollars, thereby avoiding or deferring the personal level of tax. If parents wanted to utilize the LCGE, their child was forced to acquire the shares personally, increasing the after-tax cost of the purchase. Before the amendments, when a child did use a corporation to purchase shares, if there had been any use of the LCGE to shelter a gain on the shares, past or present, subsection 84.1 of the Income Tax Act, would tax the parents on the portion of the gain sheltered with the LCGE as a taxable dividend.
The amendments attempt to level the playing field and to alleviate this problem by allowing a sale to non-arm’s length purchasers (i.e. from parent to child) of the shares to result in a capital gain and the ability to use the capital gains exemption to reduce the income tax.
Additionally, Bill C-208 also enacts legislation that deems siblings to be considered non-arm’s length with respect to certain transactions. The intent of this change is to it make it easier to split corporations held by siblings on a tax deferred basis.
A note of caution:
Despite receiving Royal Assent, the Department of Finance has indicated it has concerns with loopholes in the new legislation that could facilitate unintended tax avoidance. On June 30, 2021, only one day after the bill was enacted, the Department of Finance announced that the government intends to introduce legislation to clarify that the amendments would apply at the beginning of the next taxation year, starting on January 1, 2022. As such, the tax community does expect amendments to these sections of the Income Tax Act to address these concerns. Therefore, reliance on these new provisions should only be done with caution and under the guidance of a tax professional. Please reach out to your IG Consultant for further information.
Written and published by IG Wealth Management as a general source of information only, with reliance on information published by the CRA, believed to be accurate as of the date of publishing. Not intended as a solicitation to buy or sell specific investments, or to provide tax, legal or investment advice. Seek advice on up to date withholding rules and rates and on your specific circumstances from an IG Consultant. Trademarks, including IG Wealth Management and IG Private Wealth Management are owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary corporations.